Good movie posters have been as rare as hen's teeth in the last quarter century. While once considered works of art, the great poster illustrators were put out to pasture, perhaps symbolically with the virtual end of the western film genre. Now, the western is making a comeback and hopefully so is the memorable movie poster. Check out the one sheet poster for the remake of 3:10 to Yuma starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Not only does it recall the style of the great films of Sergio Leone, but it is also lacking another characteristic of most recent movie posters: the bland, scanned head of the star/stars that give no indication what the movie is even about. Praise to all concerned for allowing a truly creative poster for 3:10 to Yuma. This includes the stars who obviously didn't exercise their clout to make sure their images filled the entire poster. The result? A movie poster that truly makes me want to see the film. Let's hope it's a sign of a new trend...-Lee Pfeiffer
(For Style.com's interview with the film's costume designer, Arianne Phillips, click here)
Terence Young and Sean Connery with Molly Peters on the set of Thunderball at Pinewood Studios: a long way from Action of the Tiger. (Photo copyright Eon Productions)
Q: I wonder if you could help me with something I'm curious about? This morning on
Turner Classic Movies I watched Action of the Tiger (1957), directed by Terence
Young, and featuring a very young Sean Connery. I'd never seen or even heard of
this movie before and I was just wondering -- and please excuse my ignorance --
if you knew if Terence Young was chosen to direct Dr. No before Connery was cast
as Bond, and if Young had anything to do with the choice of Connery, perhaps
having remembered him from Action of the Tiger?- Rory Monteith
A: Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had chosen Terence Young to direct the first Bond movie, Dr. No long before the part of 007 had been cast. I once asked Cubby and his wife Dana to clear up the misconceptions about how Connery got the part. Cubby said that while he remained close friends with Terence Young (this was in the early 1990s), he practiced revisionist history when it came to casting James Bond and always tried to take credit for discovering Connery. It is true that Young took an immediate liking to young Connery and told him during the making of Action of the Tiger that he had star potential but this non-descript action film would not be his breakthrough role. Young promised to do what he could to assist Connery in his career. However, Cubby and Dana told me that even Cubby didn't see the potential for Connery to play Bond. It was Dana who convinced him that Connery had the requisite sex appeal after they saw a screening of Disney's Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Cubby and Harry were skeptical until they met with Connery and liked his brash, independent nature. Yet, when they told Young about their choice, he held his head in his hands and said, "Disaster! Disaster! Disaster!" Young thought Connery was a good actor but that he lacked the sophistication for the role of Bond - which even Connery later admitted was true. However, Young, who was among the most erudite and sophisticated of directors, took young Sean under his wing and personally gave him a crash course in the snobbier aspects of life: how to dress, how to order fine wines, etc. Connery proved to be an eager student and to this day still credits Young with playing a major role in his success.- Lee Pfeiffer
2 in Venice, and as the press accreditation desk wasn’t opening till the
afternoon, that left the morning free for a visit to the Libreria Solaris, the
only place in Venice for film books and DVDs (and I mean ‘only’ in both senses
of the word). Having grabbed a fistful of movies – including the Italian
releases of both HerculesHercules Unchained, which I
fervently hope are taken from better prints than the budget discs available in
the States – I moseyed on back to the hotel and then over to the Lido,
pondering awhile the relationship between Venice and the movies.
has often been likened to a living film set, a most appropriate comparison
considering the city was literally conjured into reality from nothing. And yet,
paradoxically, it’s the very unreality of the place, the sheer improbability of
it, that leaves the deepest impression on even the most fleeting of visitors.
Venice exists, but a part of your mind is always aware that it shouldn’t.
with actual film sets, some directors make better use of them than others,
while the very best contrive to make the production design an integral part of
the story rather than mere backdrop. In this regard, Venice is no exception.
of the more memorable instances of Venice as backdrop include Sean Connery,
Daniela Bianchi, and Matt Monro combining for the final sequence of From
Russia with Love (1963), as James Bond unspools a reel of compromising film
into the Grand Canal. Bond was back in Venice in 1979 for the puerile Moonraker,
in which Roger Moore struggled to maintain his dignity while driving a
gondala-cum-car through St. Mark’s Square, in addition to having a smashing
time in a fight sequence set in a Murano glass factory. And more recently, an
actor with ginger hair, inexplicably cast as 007, was involved in the
preposterously overblown CGI destruction of an entire Venetian palazzo in the
preposterously over-praised Casino Royale (2006).
wasn’t the only Napoleon to invade Venice. One hundred and seventy years after
the megalomaniac Corsican brought an end to the Venetian Republic, Robert
Vaughn took time off from playing Napoleon Solo to appear in The Venetian
Affair (1967), a tale of murky goings-on derived from a book by Helen MacInnes
and co-starring Euro-spy stalwarts Luciana Paluzzi and Elke Sommer, together
with none other than Karloff the Uncanny in one of his last roles.
by coincidence, of course, Illya Kuryakin was on hand for a fortuitous Man
from U.N.C.L.E. photo-opportunity, when David McCallum “just happened” to
be in the vicinity while filming the obscure romantic comedy, Three Bites of
the Apple, opposite Eurobabe Sylva Koscina.
Image Entertainment is promising (threatening?) to release a 3 DVD special "Imperial Edition" of the notorious 1979 film Caligula,an epic that was to good taste what Liberace was to understatement. The film was bankrolled by Penthouse Magazine mogul Bob Guccione and became infamous for having lured established stars such as Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, Helen Mirren and John Gielgud onboard to film their scenes - without telling them that hardcore footage would be -er, inserted- after the fact. Some of the cast at least feigned being outraged over this ploy while McDowell and Mirren have obviously had a change of heart - both are contributing to what should be a fascinating audio commentary track for the new edition.
The new DVD also features:
Hours of documentaries
Never before seen footage
Hi def transfer
Even Mussolini didn't have it this good!
This will be the unrated version with hardcore sequences intact. (A watered down version was released as an "R" rated film, but seeing Caligula without the sex is like seeing The Wild Bunch without the guns.) The film was an ambitious attempt to make a hardcore film a virtual epic and have it taken seriously by critics. The scheme didn't work, however. Not only did critics scorn the raw sex play but they also complained about the scenes of lurid torture. Indeed, the film does graphically showcase scenes in which Rome's mad emporer indulges in his penchant for mass slaughter. Hey, everybody's got to have a hobby, right? There were also endless sequences of orgies, sado-masochism, and assorted perversions - you know, the kind of stuff Congressmen ususally get caught up in. The film is never less than fascinating if you can stomach the unpleasantness. It does boast some impressive sets - and yes, we're actually referring to the production design! To label it a porn film is probably unjust because it does have loftier aspirations than a grind house film. Whether it succeeds or not depends on whether the viewer can tolerate the kinky sexual antics of Caligula. They may be more stomach-turning than erotic, but I personally live by the old addage, "The worst sex I ever had was like the worst pizza I ever had - terrific!"
The Caligula special edition will be out in late October - just in time for the holidays, especially if you like getting your stockings stuffed. - Lee Pfeiffer
Lee Pfeiffer looks at the release of a John Wayne rarity:
Don't be deceived by the title: this is actually the Duke's 1970 TV special "Swing Out Sweet Land"
Arriving without fanfare is MPI Home Video's release of John Wayne's 1970 NBC TV special, Swing Out Sweet Land packaged under the title John Wayne's Tribute to America. This is not the first time video companies have retitled shows for commercial reasons. Peter Bogdanovich's wonderful 1971 documentary, The American West of John Ford was repackaged by public domain video companies as The Great American West -duh! In any event, we wouldn't have even known about this release had it not been for Cinema Retro subscriber Jim Kroeper who was kind enough to send us a copy he found in a local store. For Wayne fans, it's pure heaven as this show has been unseen since it's single telecast thirty seven years ago. Although the entertainment special was a ratings blockbuster, it was never re-run or released on video until now.
The special was bascially Duke's gift to The Silent Majority at a time when protests over everything from Vietnam to civil rights and women's lib seemed to be fracturing the very fabric of America. Wayne's show was intentionally steeped in enough corn to make episodes of Ozzie and Harriet look like searing social commentary. Yet, viewing the show after decades, there is a real sense of sentiment that shines through for those of us who grew up in that era. Wayne had amassed a roster of all stars that only serves to remind you of how flimsy our Hollywood "legends" are today. In fact, the very premise of getting some of the biggest names in show business together to honor their country would seem hopelessly naive today. The show is refreshingly devoid of right wing sentiment. Wayne seems to accept the fact that all Americans can take pride in their nation regardless of their political leanings. The entertainment runs from song and dance numbers to comedy sketches that range from genuinely amusing to strained. Yet, the real joy is seeing the line-up of greats all in one show: Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Bonanza stars Lorne Greene, Michael Landon and Dan Blocker, Dennis Weaver, Bing Crosby, Ann-Margaret, Rowan and Martin and many others.
The release seems to be a public domain program as neither Wayne's Batjac Productions or NBC is credited. However, MPI has found a very good print (probably from 16mm) that makes for a very impressive transfer and beats the hell out of those barely discernable bootlegs of the show that have circulated among Wayne collectors for many years. The show even begins with the NBC peacock and follows with the original Budweiser Clydesdales! Viewing the show, which was completely sponsored by Budweiser, also makes you realize how much better TV programs were when you only had one sponsor. The ads may have been longer, but they were very enjoyable in their own right. The effect is far more advantageous to both the viewer and the sponsor than the present system of loading so many commercials into a TV episode that you can't even follow the plot.
Extras: MPI has included some interesting extras including original ads from the show featuring Budweiser spokesman Ed McMahon, who shows us why TV never had a better pitchman. Budweiser is my least favorite beer but after watching Ed virtually compare it to Holy Water, I was ready for a mug of the limp lager. The ads also include one in which Wayne, resplendent in his normal cowboy attire, appears in the spot with McMahon as a bartender circa 1876. There is also another terrific extra: Wayne's appearance in 1960 as the surprise guest on What's My Line? He barely fools the panelists for even a minute as the thunderous applause gives away his identity. Wayne goes on to chat with host John Daly about the recent opening of his film The Alamo - which I found interesting since Dave Worrall and I are completing a book about the making of the film. Wayne mentions he has two films in circulation "on Broadway": The Alamo and North to Alaska, but confesses he is more concerned about the fate of The Alamo. He does give a lukewarm endorsement to both pictures, however, by humorously pointing out that he's not ashamed of either - though he can't say the same about many of the films he's made!
This one is a "must" for all serious John Wayne fans.
Arrived in Venice, to be greeted by Terence Hill. Not in person, you understand, with brass band and Bud Spencer on trombone, but, turning on the TV in my hotel room, there was Terence, beaming blandly. . . . This seemed auspicious, not only because I’m here to cover the Spaghetti Western retrospective at this year’s Venice Film Festival, which includes two Terence Hill movies, but also because Terence is, apparently, as revealed by some remarkably tedious and unproductive research prior to this trip, Venice’s greatest gift to cinema. Indeed, it seems he is Venice’s only gift to cinema – or at any rate, the only one with any serious claim to international recognition. Which seems odd, somehow, given La Serenissima’s high profile in the film world due to the Festival, to say nothing of its appearance as a location in literally hundreds of movies, but there it is. Of course, hosting a film festival is no guarantee of cinematic progeny (vide Cannes) but Venice is . . . well, Venice—home to Marco Polo, Casanova, Goldoni, Vivaldi, Canaletto . . . and Terence Hill.
However, my initial pleasure at seeing Terence quickly evaporated on realising that what I was watching was an episode of his seemingly endless series, Don Matteo, in which Hill plays a priest, one who resolves issues with a kindly smile and a pious platitude rather than a Trinity-like series of well-placed punches. This lamentable conclusion to Hill's career apparently dates back to the success of the Trinity films, after which he was, so he says, constantly approached by mammas burdened with bawling bambini who thanked him, with tears in their eyes, for making movies suitable per tutta la famiglia. Since then, and the apparent end of his partnership with Spencer, Hill has pursued the family-values agenda so assiduously that he must be an outstanding candidate for the Michael Medved Lifetime Achievement Award for Saccharine Sentimentality. <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--> <!--[endif]-->
Who can forget his spectacular miscasting of himself, both as actor and director, in the execrable Don Camillo in 1983? (I’ve tried, but nothing seems to work.) Or his wretched turn as Lucky Luke in a series of infantile TV movies? I suppose, with hindsight, we should have been warned by the fact that St. Terence enjoyed his biggest success playing a character called Trinity, but how were we to know that he harboured ambitions to be the Pat O'Brien of his day, and that the rest of his solo career, post-My Name Is Nobody, could easily be headlined They Call Me Sanctimonious…?
As watching Don Matteo is rather like being mugged by Bing Crosby (though without the songs), I grabbed the zapper and managed to catch the final showdown of Il mucchio selvaggio, or The Wild Bunch, if you prefer. While Pike Bishop and the Gorch brothers may not sound quite right growling at each other in Italian, it didn't make much difference to Coffer and T.C., who spend most of the movie jabbering and gesticulating like a pair of Venetian fishwives anyway. Nonetheless, the legendary bullet ballet provided just the right antidote to the toe-curling banalities of Don Matteo.
And so to bed. Tomorrow, after all, is another day . . .
At long last, MGM will release a special DVD edition of the 1967 James Bond spoof Casino Royale. Release date is November 6. The disc has been produced by Steve Rubin and Steve Mitchell. Rubin is well known Bond expert and author of The James Bond Films and The James Bond Encyclopedia.He's also a documentary film maker who produced and directed a tribute to The Great Escape.The disc will have many special features as outlined below:
The Making Of Casino Royale" featurette
"Bond James Bond" featurette
"A 3 Ring Circus" featurette
"More Directors, More Stars" featurette
"The Big Climax" featurette
"It’s a Wrap!" featurette
See Barbara Bouchet's exclusive interview in Cinema Retro's Casino Royale special issue #6
Rubin and Mitchell tracked down a number of stars who have not been interviewed in many years to tell the story behind this over-budgeted, out-of-control big budget film that was produced by Charles K. Feldman. The film production took over three major studios and starred an eclectic cast of actors including Peter Sellers, Ursula Andress, David Niven, Woody Allen, William Holden and Orson Welles. Whether you love or hate the movie, the story behind it is fascinating.
No release date has been set for the U.K. as of yet.
Meanwhile, Sony is planning on releasing a major special edition of the Daniel Craig Casino Royale -this time possibly as a three disc set to contain all the extras. No release date has been set.
For full coverage of the making of Casino Royale, see Cinema Retro issue #6. The issue features exclusive interviews with Barbara Bouchet and Caroline Munro as well as dozens of rare stills and movie poster art.
Gorman is a writer of tough crime fiction that evokes in its relentless
narrative drive and brooding atmospherics the classic crime and noir films of Hollywood’s golden era.
Gorman’s outsider characters bear numerous affinities with the doomed
protagonists of noir, and he frequently leads them on nerve-shredding journeys
to the end of the savage night. Since the publication of his first novel in 1985, Gorman has written dozens of compulsively readable suspense, horror
and science fiction books characterized by fascination (and empathy) with the
dark side of human nature, with fear and loneliness, with transgression and
surprise then that the man described as “the poet of dark suspense” turns out
to be a lifelong devotee of dark cinema. What is surprising is that it took Hollywood
so long to recognize this literary heavyweight’s knockout appeal. The Poker Club, the first Gorman book to
be adapted for the screen, is currently in post-production. His latest novel,
Fools Rush In (Pegasus Publishing),
continues his obsession with characters who live and die on the wrong side of
the tracks. In this exclusive Cinema Retro interview, Gorman talks about the
seminal crime films that have long fascinated and inspired him.
Voyages of Imagination—The Star Trek Fiction Companionby Jeff
Ayers (Pocket Books)
Talk about a labor of love!Author Jeff Ayers had to familiarize himself
with over six hundred books published
since 1967 (when the first Star Trek paperback
book of fiction was published by Bantam) in order to present this massive 782-page
trade paperback that lists every single Star
Trek novel ever published.If that
isn’t a monumental task in and of itself, Ayers also manages to comment on each book, offering insights
and background to the novels’ plots, characters, and their place in the Star Trek universe.It’s all here—the numbered novels, the
unnumbered novels (and for all the Trek television
series, too!), novelizations, anthologies, young adult fiction, and more.Equally impressive is the Appendix—a Star Trek Fiction Timeline (created and
compiled by numerous authors) that places each novel within the year-by-year
time frame of the Trek universe.Ayers, a freelance journalist who has written
for a number of publications and serves on the board of the Pacific Northwest
Writers Association, declares himself a “Star
Trek fan as far back as he can remember,” and it shows.This is truly an awesome piece of work.Read long and prosper.
Here's another blast from the past from the Cinema Retro archives. We thought of it when we came across this news blurb in the November 18, 1964 issue of the trade paper The Film Daily:
"GOLDFINGER PREMIERE FOR NY LINCOLN SQUARE
American premiere of United Artists' Goldfinger will be held at the DeMille Theater, New York, on Dec. 21 as a benefit for the Lincoln Square Academy at Lincoln Center. Vincent Sardi Jr. is premiere chairman."
We delved into our archives and came up with this image of a screening ticket for an invitational preview of the film shown at the DeMille Theater on October 29. We wonder how many people in attendance realized how the film would revolutionize the action movie genre...
In this new feature, we'll periodically run the original film titles of famous motion pictures. You would be amazed at how many well-known films had their titles changed just prior to release!
This rare British trade magazine ad illustrates the 1964 western comedy "4 for Texas" that starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ursula Andress and Anita Ekberg. Did you know the film was actually shot under the title of "Two for Texas"? Presumably, the original title was amended to give equally billing to the voluptuous female stars. Not to be crude, but "Four for Texas" could have referred to only Andress and Ekberg! Also, Bette Davis was announced as having a major role in the film but for reasons unknown dropped out of the production.
Sony have released a special double disc DVD edition of 20 Million Miles to Earth, a 1957 low-budget sci-fi "epic" that has only one claim to fame - but it is an impressive one. The film represented one of Ray Harryhausen's early successes in pioneering his distinctive work in stop motion animation. Harryhausen didn't direct the film - Nathan Juran did, but it is Harryhausen who is the real star. As one of the last of true legendary craftsmen from Hollywood's Golden Age, Harryhausen is worthy of all the praise he has been receiving late in his career. The CGI technology that is employed today has robbed films of their wonder. Harryhausen's work - even in an otherwise nondescript B movie such as this- reminds us of what true geniuses were capable of.
Very rare 1964 industry trade ad celebrating the record-breaking grosses of the second 007 film From Russia With Love
AOL's Money and Finance web site has crunched the numbers and
determined that when it comes to the highest grossing film franchises
of all time, James Bond still has the Midas touch. The series, which
began in 1962, has grossed $4.5 billion to date but it has the
advantage of starting long before any other film series in contention
and amassing the gross over twenty-one films. In comparison, the Star Wars series lags behind Bond by a measly $100 million - and has managed to do so with only six films. However, there are several factors that should be taken into account. Technically, the Bond films could also encompass the grosses of the two "maverick" 007 productions not made by Eon Productions: Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983). Also, if the early Bond's grosses were adjusted for inflation,
the gap would widen considerably. Preferably, these types of charts
should be based on the number of tickets sold, as a first run movie
ticket in the early 1960s was less than $2.
Here is the complete list from the article along with grosses to date:
James Bond $4.5 billion
Star Wars $4.4 billion
Harry Potter $4.1 billion
Lord of the Rings $2.9 billion
Pirates of the Caribbean $2.7 billion
Spiderman $2.5 billion
Shrek $2.1 billion
Wanna bet that according to standard Hollywood Hollywood accounting practices, not one of these series has yet to make a profit? To read the article click here
In issue #7 of Cinema Retro, Paul Talbot, author of Bronson's Loose: The Making of the Death Wish Films, revisited the 1974 film that started the franchise. He now brings us interviews with actresses Robin Sherwood and Silvana Gallardo who appeared in the the film's controversial sequel, Death Wish II.
In 1981 star Charles Bronson and director Michael Winner
reunited for Death Wish II, a follow-up to one of the highest grossing
and most discussed films of 1974. In Death Wish II, vigilante Paul
Kersey hits the streets to avenge the brutal rape and murder of his daughter
(who had already been rendered comatose after an attack in the first film) and
his Hispanic housekeeper. The sequel became not only another box-office hit,
but the most-controversial film in the five-title series and the lone entry
that alienates even the most diehard Bronson fans. Death Wish II owes
most of its notoriety to two brutal and vicious rape scenes that were so grisly
that they had to be extensively edited to achieve an R rating in the United
States and were cut even further for England.
Steve McQueen's prized limited edition Ferrari has sold for the kind of coin that not even Thomas Crown could have afforded. Christies auctioned the vehicle for $2.3 million, another indication that although McQueen has been gone for many years, his persona still lives on and a new generation regards him as The King of Cool. McQueen bought the car in 1963 when his film career took a big boost with the release of The Great Escape. For full details click here
The Cinema Retro time machine takes you back to the day the following news item was published in Motion Picture Daily.
DATELINE: November 17 1964: Cinerama Deal on Battle of the Bulge is Set
Rare trade magazine ad
Cinerama has embarked upon a new program of developing its own production. As the first major step in the new policy, Cinerama, Inc, has concluded a production deal on Battle of the Bulge, it was announced yesterday by William R. Forman, president of the company.
The Milton Sperling-Philip Yordan-Sidney Harmon production, to be filmed by United States Productions will be filmed in the new single lens Cinerama process. It marks the first time that the Cinerama process has been used in the production of a war film. Battle of the Bulge is scheduled to get under way on Jan. 15, 1965....the multi million dollar production will be distributed by Warner Bros. Richard Fleischer will direct the picture. It will be filmed in its European locale...It is expected that 10 important personalities with international reputations will star in the production...It will be the third Cinerama production to be released next year. Previously announced were The Greatest Story Ever Told and Hallelujah Trail.
Note: Battle of the Bulge proved to be a troubled production. Director Richard Fleischer dropped out of the film and was replaced by Ken Annakin. The film was not shot on location in Belgium where the battle was actually fought, but in Spain and ultimately became regarded as one of the most historically inaccurate war films ever made. Mr. Annakin has given Cinema Retro an exclusive, in-depth interview about the trials and tribulations of making the film. Look for it in a future issue.
Cleaver. Chop. Chop. First the mom and then the pop. Then we'll get the pretty
girl. We'll get her right between the curl...'
gentlemen, because of the controversy already aroused, the producers of this
film wish to re-emphasise what is already stated in the film, that there is no
established scientific connection between Mongolism and psychotic or criminal
added voice-over heralded the start of what would become one of the most talked
about cult films of the 1960’s. Twisted Nerve produced a flurry of protest amidst
disability rights groups, even while the film was in its post production
stages. Hywel Bennett gives a spellbinding, disturbing performance as Georgie/Martin, a disturbed young man from a dysfunctional family. His brother is institutionalized with a mental handicap, his stepfather (Frank Finlay) loathes him and his doting mother (Phyllis Calvert) treats him like a toddler. Martin is a schizophrenic who adopts the charming personality of a six year old when he wants to win favor with those around him. However, he also has a dangerous alter-ego who cannot deal with his unrequited love for Susan Harper (played with considerable charm by Hayley Mills), a young woman whose attempts to assist Martin are misconstrued as a love interest. When he fails to win her over, he enacts a scheme that has devastating consequences. He begins to stalk Susan, then shows up at her mother's home and convinces her to take him in as a lodger. The mother, wonderfully played by Billie Whitelaw, has no idea of the horror her compassion is about to unleash.
As Cinema Retro's readership and reputation continues to grow, it has resulted in our being involved in some exciting and unusual projects pertaining to the world of classic movies. Last year, 20th Century Fox, which ranks among the studios that work closely with Cinema Retro, chose us to write and design the first book ever published directly by the studio. The result was The Great Fox War Movies, a hardcover volume that gave the comprehensive story behind the making of three classic Fox films: The Longest Day, Patton and Tora! Tora! Tora! The
book was packed with hundreds of rare stills, many never before
published, from the Cinema Retro archives. (Who else would have
original Japanese programs from these films???) The book was packaged with double DVD special editions of the
films and we were quite honored to see it promoted in Time magazine as
a Father's Day gift. (Dad would much rather have this than that new
shoehorn you had your eye on!)
Just as Cinema Retro magazine begat The Great Fox War Movies, now that book has begat another exciting volume: The Alamo: A Visual Celebration of John Wayne's Classic Movie. The book is being published by Sundown Entertainment Company. Whether you love The Alamo or are among those who find it a flawed effort, this book will be for you. There is no whitewashing the dramatic behind the scenes story of the making of this epic film. The intrigue touches on politics, patriotism, John Wayne's personal obsession over 15 years to make the movie a reality and the lingering consequences of its aftermath, both negative and positive. Few individuals would have been courageous - or perhaps foolish enough - to make their directorial debut with one of the biggest, most expensive action epics ever filmed. John Wayne did - and created a film that still stirs strong passions and controversies even today.
This book will be unique in many ways. First of all, it will be a premium, limited edition collector's item that sells for $110.
There will only be 1500 hardback editions printed
Each book will be individually numbered and signed by the authors
The book will be 180 pages and contain hundreds of the rarest stills and behind the scenes production shots imaginable. Many of these photos have never been seen before and come from the private collections of the foremost Alamo enthusiasts from around the world.
There will be sections dedicated to international advertising posters, collectibles associated with the film, and rare original trade magazine advertisements
As with The Great Fox War Movies, your humble publishers of Cinema Retro, Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall are writing and designing the entire book
We'll be filling you in on more details over the next couple of months. The release date for the book is fourth quarter 2007. This book will not be available through stores or Amazon. Because it is extremely limited,
it will only be available through Sundown Entertainment Company. Pre-orders are now being taken by Sundown Entertainment.
One of the many original trade magazine advertisements reproduced in the book.
Ultra rare original artwork sketch for a poster design never used.
Lovely Linda Cristal who played Flaca, makes a provocative pose on the set of the film.
Legendary director John Ford gives some unwanted advice to Duke Wayne about how to play a scene. Ford's unexpected visit to The Alamo set caused a problem for Wayne, who greatly respected his mentor but did not appreciate Ford's attempts become the defacto director of the movie.
Control yourselves, ladies: it's heart throb Liberace in his appearance in the 1965 MGM musical "When the Boys Meet the Girls". What really does happen when the boys meet the girls? Not much if you're Liberace.
Long before it was fashionable to come out of the closest, generations of gay actors and entertainers not only had to cover up their sexual preferences but also had to go beyond the pale to establish they were as straight-as-an-arrow. This tended to work with major stars such as Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson, even though the studios often had their most popular gay stars go through the ritual of "dating" starlets and in the case of Hudson, even entering a sham marriage with a pre-determined divorce date. However, attempts to make Liberace into a female heart throb defied even the power of the studio moguls. In the 1955 film Sincerely Yours, ol' Lib was cast as a world famous pianist (we always knew he loved pianists!) who must not only cope with going deaf but also losing his dream girl. If you find that a bit too much to believe, so did audiences. Beyond Liberace's core group of blue-haired old ladies, the public at large found the scenario hilarious. However, when a British film critic suggested Liberace was gay, the world's ultimate pianist sprang up successfully and sued the writer for libel. The indignity of having to hand over thousands of dollars to Liberace for suggesting he was gay was like apologizing for saying Jackie Gleason was fat. Yet, this was the state of denial the film industry was in at the time. He continued to maintain this charade even on his death bed, years after he could have used his popularity to help the cause of gay entertainers by coming out of the closet.
The finding of the London court in Liberace's favor for some reason did not turn him into a matinee idol. He only made two other films - including playing himself in a musical cameo in MGM's 1965 teen extravaganza When the Boys Meet the Girls. The following year he received positive reviews for his self-mocking performance in The Loved One, the infamous send-up of Hollywood hypocrisy.
Happily, it's a different world today - at least to some degree. Gay actors can indeed come out of the closest and find themselves the toast of the town on the party circuit but the hypocrisy is still there: unless they want to continuously be cast as flamboyant gay characters, studios rarely entrust them with leading roles.
Sadly, neither of Liberace's masterpieces Sincerely Yours or When the Boys Meet the Girls have made it on to DVD yet. However, you can get the terrific DVD of The Loved One discounted from Amazon by clicking here
Christopher Lee with Britt Ekland on the set of The Man With the Golden Gun in Thailand. His character had three nipples, thus allowing Ian Fleming to milk the idiosyncrasy for all it was worth.
Did you ever sit and ponder for hours about the origins of the names that Ian Fleming gave to the villains in his James Bond novels...er, neither have we. However, for those whose lives might be a bit less hectic, the searing answer to this question can be found in writer Anthony Horowitz's interesting article in London's Daily Mail. Horowitz even interviews the grandson of the man who is alleged to be the namesake of the evil Scaramanga a.ka. The Man with the Golden Gun. It's claimed that Fleming used his writing skills to immortalize the name in the annals of literary villainy simply because he hated a fellow schoolmate named George Scaramanga! (Couldn't he have been content simply shaking him down for his milk money?) In any event, Horowitz points out some thought-provoking facts about Bond baddies: the types of personality and physical deformaties they displayed in the 1950s and 1960s would be virtually impossible to use today. For example, when Fleming created the character of Rosa Klebb, her lesbianism was presented as a deformity and perversion. Today, every actress is trying mightily to arrange to be photographed "unawares" playing tonsil-hockey with another chick in the hope it makes onto Page Six in the New York Post. This is why I was delighted to see the most recent Bond villain, Le Chiffre in last year's Casino Royale reverting to the grand, old tradition of displaying a unique physical deformity: his eyes tear blood. Doubtless, this cost the producers heavily at the box-office when all men who bleed from their eyes decided to boycott the film, but it was a welcome return to vintage Fleming. - Lee Pfeiffer
We recently discovered a terrific web site that caters to the thousands of movie poster collectors around the world. These are people who recall when movie posters were genuine works of art created by such names as Robert McGinnis, Reynold Brown, Frank McCarthy and so many others - as opposed to the bland, indistinguishable scan-and-paste posters for contemporary films. Rather than attempt to describe the wealth of interesting aspects to the site, we thought we'd let their web masters take a crack at it:
The Movie Poster Forum at www.movieposterforum.com
is the place to be for anyone with a love for the great classic movie posters.
The forum brings you a comprehensive, growing community of expert original
movie poster collectors from across the globe.
Rare Italian reissue poster for The Magnificent Seven
The forum was created in July 2005 and has
over 1,920 members, many of which are very highly respected movie poster
experts in the movie poster community. We also have a vast amount of unregistered
visitors viewing the Forum each day. Over the last 12 months, the Forum has
received 2,265,367 (2.26 million) page impressions. Over the last 6 months, the
forum has received 1,385,055 (1.38 million) page impressions.
Members from the following countries
regularly visit The Movie Poster Forum...United States, Great Britain, Canada,
Australia, France, Singapore, Philippines, China, Germany, South Korea,
Macedonia, Norway, Latvia, Poland, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Belgium, Brazil,
Italy, Ireland, Romania, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Spain, Russia, Sweden,
Discussions on the Forum include
information on how to store posters correctly, methods to authentic the age and
value of posters, advice about getting posters linen backed for preservation
purposes, recommendations of how and where to sell movie posters and many more
informative topics. There is a “For Sale” section for Ebay and non-Ebay items,
as well as an area for posting your “Want Lists”. Other sections include:
"Movie Posters by Country", "Movie Poster Restoration”,"Specialist Posters" (advertising posters,
video posters, cable and television posters, theatre art, special promotion posters,
music posters, sports posters, military posters), "Movies, Movie News,
Actors, Props, Movie Memorabilia, Shows and Events" and "General Off
Topic Chat, Links, Feedback and Information"
A great beauty of the Forum is that you can
start a topic about anything you desire, whether you want to ask how to store
poster correctly or whether you want find out if a poster is an original and
authentic. The forum is moderated and is spam-free, so you have an environment
to enjoy the hobby as it is meant to be enjoyed.
If you have your own site and wish to
advertise it and give it more prominence on the web, you can request to have a
free reciprocal link on the homepage. We also offer banner advertisement at
very reasonable rates. This link can be found on the Forum homepage.
To visit the Movie Poster Forum, click the icon below
for Bond: The Genesis of Cinema’s Greatest Heroby Robert Sellers (Tomahawk Press)
Review by Christopher Andersen
Author Robert Sellers has plenty to be proud of with the
recent publication of his new book The Battle for Bond. Not
only is the book well-written but also sheds light on one of the few relatively
unexplored aspects of the 007 franchise: the seemingly endless legal battles
concerning the franchise and, in particular, Thunderball.
Even for a lifetime Bond fan like myself, this book provides fascinating
new information pertaining to the legal minefield of disputes between Ian
Fleming and his one-time friends and collaborators Kevin McClory, Jack
Whittingham, Ernest Cuneo and Ivor
Bryce- who were the principal creative forces behind the Thunderball storyline. Their collaboration would result in a high
profile court case when Whittingham and McClory accused Fleming of basing his
novel on elements of scripts they had collaborated on with him. The fallout
resulted in the ailing Fleming settling out of court and giving up screen rights
to the novel.
In addition, the book offers a terrific insight to the later
legal battles between Kevin McClory and Cubby Broccoli over McClory’s efforts to
capitalize on those screen rights by producing a remake of Thunderball in the 1970s and 1980s. Robert Sellers hasmanaged to
uncover rare photos and storyboards to enhance the little-known stories behind
these aborted efforts that later resulted in the making of Never Say Never Again, the 1983 Bond film that was indeed a remake
of Thunderball.What’s truly an exceptional find are
original storyboards from the abandoned 1970s project that Sean Connery had
co-scripted the screenplay for. The book even includes rare photos of Connery
touring prospective film location sites for the project including the Statue of
From a personal perspective, my favorite part of the book
covers complexities of the making of Never
Say Never Again. Sellers keeps the complicated events easy to follow –no easy
task. I do have a special interest in this film because back in 1984, the film's
producer Jack Schwartzman discussed with me his intentions to create a
specialvideo edition of this movie
–using a new score and adding some deleted scenes. Schwartzman also disclosed
that he felt he could have done a better job of handling the complex production issues that are inevitably part of a film of this scope. My
marketing research on behalf of Schwartzman showed that this special edition
would have been a very successful, even in the still-early days of Home Video
back in 1984.
The 40 year saga involving Kevin McClory and his obsession
with the material he contributed for Thunderball
is presented in dramatic fashion and Robert Sellers’ dedication and thorough
investigation into this Bond story results in a book that is a “must” for any serious fan of the franchise.
Tim Lilley, who ran the old Big Trail fan journal dedicated to the films of John Wayne has issued a revised and updated edition of Campfire Conversations, a compilation of interviews with friends and colleagues of John Wayne that had been conducted over the years. As many of these people have since passed on, this is one of the most valuable records of the Duke ever committed to print. The interviews are candid and enlightening, providing plenty of surprising and personal details of one of the most analyzed motion picture icons of all time. Among those interviewed: Maureen O'Hara, Ben Johnson, Denver Pyle, director Andrew V. Mclaglen, Wayne's long time stunt man Chuck Roberson and many others. For more details and ordering information click here
The good folks at Intrada have released the long-awaited original soundtrack CD of Jerry Goldsmith's magnificent score for the 1975 adventure classic The Wind and the Lion starring Sean Connery, Candice Bergen and Brian Keith. This is the ultimate experience for Goldsmith fans: it will be a 2 CD set with virtually every variation of the score recorded for posterity.
Here is the news release from Screen Archives:
Spectacular 2 CD set offers complete score to legendary Academy
Award-nominated Jerry Goldsmith 1975 score for epic John Milius
adventure with Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith. CD 1 has
complete 63-minute score in film sequence presented from Warner
Brothers three-channel master mixes. Highlighting new tracks are
magnificent Americana fanfare for Roosevelt's afternoon ride, dynamic
new variants on Raisuli main theme, complex music for the Blue People,
much more! CD 2 has original 38-minute program newly-remastered from
Arista two-track album mixes. Both CD mixes, sequences yield different
listening experiences. Also included is all source music prepared by
Alexander Courage during recording sessions. Every note of Goldsmith's
genuine masterpiece is now available! Presented with lavish booklet
featuring notes, score analysis by Jeff Bond & FSM co-producer
Lukas Kendall, who also oversaw restoration efforts through Warner
Brothers. Jerry Goldsmith conducts Graunke Symphony Orchestra. Two full
hours of excitement! To order click here
Former James Bond girls and Hammer stars Caroline Munro and Martine Beswicke reunited at Bray Studios
If you couldn't be at Bray Studios' historic Hammer Horror reunion last weekend, Cinema Retro's man on the scene Adrian Smith gives you the low-down:
On August 4, over 150 fans and many Hammer stars and
personnel gathered at Bray Studios on the banks of the River Thames to
celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of The Curse of Frankenstein.Amongst the guests were writer-director Jimmy
Sangster, director John Hough, Margaret Robinson, the widow of art director
Bernard Robinson, and actors Virginia Wetherell, Madeline Smith, Ingrid Pitt,
Janina Faye, Vera Day, Caroline Munro, Martine Beswicke, Carol Marsh, Yvonne
Monlaur, Valerie Leon, Douglas Wilmer, Damien Thomas, John Cater and Edward de
It was the first time for many of the fans in
attendance that they had been able to visit Bray, the spiritual home of Hammer
films. Between 1951 and 1966 Hammer shot around eighty films there before
relocating to MGM-Elstree Studios in Borehamwood. Amongst these are many of
those considered to be THE Hammer classics, including Dracula (US title Horror of Dracula), The Mummy,
The Curse of the Werewolf, The Quatermass Experiment, Hound of the Baskervilles and of course,
The Curse of Frankenstein.
Among William Tuttle's most famous creations: the evil Morlocks from MGM's "The Time Machine".
There aren't many makeup men whose name merits recognition by movie fans, but William Tuttle was among the elite. He served at MGM between 1950-1969 and created some of the most famous makeup effects in the studio's history. Among them: Tony Randall's remarkable transformations in The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao; the subterranean Morlock monsters from The Time Machine, the magical creations for The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and many others. Tuttle, who died this week at the age of 95, also created the famous "pig face people" for one of the most enduring Twilight Zone episodes, Eye of the Beholder. Writer Tom Weaver reveals on the Fangoria site that Tuttle also worked as an actor in a bit part in the only excellent Girl From U.N.C.L.E. episode,The Mother Muffin Affair that featured Boris Karloff's remarkable performance in drag. For Weaver's excellent tribute to Mr. Tuttle on the Fangoria site click here.
We stumbled upon a fun blog titled Classic Television Show Biz that offers rare clips from old TV series. Among the goodies are original NBC TV promos for the 1966-67 season including The Man From UNCLE and Star Trek. Also in the same batch is The Tonight Show and Dragnet '67. Click here to bring back some fond memories!
John Alvin's new version of his classic poster will be used for the forthcoming theatrical release and DVD edition
If you couldn't make it to Comic Con 2007 in San Diego for the festivities surrounding the newly- announced extended cut of Blade Runner, Cinema Retro takes you there courtesy of producer and writer Paul Jilbert.
In 1982, everything I thought science fiction films and
films should be went out the window after my first viewing of Blade Runner.I was numb as I walked out of the MadonnaTheater
in San Luis Obispo, CA. It was evening and the rain was pouring
down asthe words of Rutger Hauer’s Roy
Batty echoed in my head “Like tears in rain” I looked at the other audience
members from the show. I saw expressions of amazement and total confusion. What
had we all experienced? A masterpiece…the memories and emotions of seeing the
film for the first time will stay with me forever. A month later I directed and
photographed (35mm widescreen) my first local television commercial for a
Ferrari dealership in San Luis Obispo.
I shot all the exteriors at sunset and dusk. I filmed the models at local neon
sign company to capture the noir look. I would never shoot the same boring, flat
cable TV lighting method again. I am currently producing and shooting commercials
in Southern California and when my co-workers
ask me why I shoot some of my commercials at late day and evenings with blue
backlight, neon colors, and long lenses I say politely, “Shut up and go home
and put Blade Runner on your bloody
cue and watch it!” (Just kidding Rob and Meg!)
Our Man Jilbert and friends at the Comic Con Blade Runner event
Some of the most legendary British actors and comedians ended their careers and lives in a shockingly tragic manner. How many people realize that the great comics Benny Hill and Terry-Thomas ended up destitute and virtually alone as they suffered from a myriad of health problems? Dudley Moore was widely considered to be an alcholic who brought about the demise of his own career through personal excesses - when, in fact, he suffered from a severe health disorder that left him dependent upon the kindness of strangers. If you ever wondered what ever happened to some of the great British actors who seemed to fade into oblivion, a book titled Fallen Stars Julian Upton will fill you in on their tragic fates. Among those
covered in the book: Mary Ure, Rachel Roberts, Peter Sellers, Carol
White, Diana Dors, Oliver Reed and many others. There is no greater
evidence of how show business both makes and destroys its own.
Original British quad poster for "Witchfinder General"
Nothing illustrates the growing influence of Cinema Retro among the major studios than the announcement from Fox/MGM that they will be releasing a special DVD edition of the Vincent Price classic Witchfinder General. The classic film has long had a cult following around the world. It was released in the United States under the title The Conqueror Worm in a weak attempt to capitalize on Price's success with Edgar Allan Poe screen adaptations. Many consider this to be the greatest role of Price's career - a far cry from the campy, over the top characters he was often relinquished to playing. The special edition came about after the film's producer Philip Waddilove gave an exclusive interview to Cinema Retro in issue #5, which featured the most extensive coverage ever done on the making of the film. Mr. Waddilove understood that Fox/MGM was thinking about bringing out a "no frills" DVD edition of the film and asked us to Fed Ex copies to their home video department along with a request that the DVD be expanded to a special edition. We are happy to say that not only is Mr. Waddilove now on the DVD, but one of the film's stars, Ian Ogilvy is also included on the commentary track. Thank you, Fox/MGM for listening!
The news gets even better for Vincent Price fans. Witchfinder General is but one of a number of Price films being issued in a major promotion dedicated to the iconic actor. Other titles include special editions of The Fly films, as well as a boxed set that includes Witchfinder, Theatre of Blood, both Dr. Phibes films, Madhouse, Tales of Terror and Twice Told Tales. This boxed set will include biographies of Price and other exciting bonus extras.
Continue reading for the official Fox/MGM press release.
For Dave Worrall's extensive tribute to Witchfinder General including unpublished photos from the archives of Philip Waddilove, see Cinema Retro issue #5.
There's more news relating to the upcoming release of The Man From UNCLE DVD set that will be marketed by Time Life. First, in response to all the inquiries we've been getting, you will be able to order the set through a direct link from Cinema Retro to Time Life. If you order through us, you'll be helping to keep Cinema Retro thriving and it won't cost you a penny more.
Now on to the latest developments. It appears as though the set will be aggressively marketed by Time Life, which was extremely pleased with the sales of their Get Smart! boxed set that contained the entire series.They will go one better with U.N.C.L.E however. The bulk of the ad campaign will be to convince consumers to buy the entire run of the series, which lasted four seasons between September 1964 and January 1968. The boxed set will contain a staggering 39 DVDs! However, a secondary marketing strategy will be employed to get consumers to make an impulse buy for the first season only. This set will consist of 8 DVDs. As reported previously, the complete collection will have more than 8 hours of bonus materials. Among the extras included:
new interviews both alone and together with Robert Vaughn and David McCallum
original blueprints of Del Floria's tailor shop, the secret entrance for U.N.C.L.E. HQ (given how many people must have walked through this tiny shop to enter the skyscraper every day, this must have been the worst-kept secret in New York City!)
Vaughn and McCallum on the Emmy and Golden Globe awards shows
rare trailers and promotional spots
four brand new 30- minute featurettes about the history and making of the series
an unseen version of the original pilot titled Solo
We understand the series will be available for pre-orders in September and finished goods are due to ship in November. No prices have been announced.
Meanwhile, please note that due to the large number of hits we are receiving from James Bond and U.N.C.L.E. fans, we have established separate categories for both series where you can easily find all the archived Cinema Retro articles pertaining to your favorite spies.
We are close to making a major announcement about U.N.C.L.E. coverage in Cinema Retro. Suffice it to say, subscribers who are fans of the series will be very pleased.
Closing Channel D!
Click on above image to visit The Fans From U.N.C.L.E. web site
Some icons of the film world age better than other and while Adam West and Burt Ward are alive, well and thriving, the most stalwart member of the Batman TV cast is none other than the original Batmobile itself. Cinema Retro contributor and author Eddy Friedfeld went for the ride of his life when he was allowed to drive the ultimate chick magnet. Unfortunately, it went to Eddy's head and he keeps driving around New York City dressed in cape looking for the police to summon him via a signal in the sky. For the most comprehensive look ever at the behind the scenes story of the making of the 1966 big screen feature film Batman, see issue #7 which also features Eddy Friedfeld's story about the Batmobile today. (To get issue #7, subscribe for the current season which includes issues 8 and 9 plus a free exclusive CD of rare radio spot ads. Because supplies of issue #7 are very limited, we regret we can't sell individual issues of this edition any longer)
Cinema Retro contributor Eddy Friedfeld with the ultimate toy for boys. (Photo: Leon Friedfeld.)
Cinema Retro subscriber Tom Pennock shares with us a rarity
from his 007 movie poster collection.
Like the American 24 sheet billboard size poster, this
great 1965 French 63" x 94" two panel features the classic artwork by
Robert McGinnis and Frank McCarthy that depicts the underwater battle in Thunderball.
When I purchased this poster it was in two 47" x 63" one panel
sections. It was machine folded in 1965 in France at the printers. The printer
was Saint Martin. As with many older foreign
posters, it was very acidic. The most important movie posters in my collection
have been preserved by the late Igor Edelman. He actually invented the process
of linenbacking and deacidifiying posters to preserve them. The paper was very
brittle and there was a slight bit of aging to the paper. The foreign paper was
really never intended to last longer than a normal film engagement. Thus,
posters printed on this paper stock generally should be linenbacked to insure
future stability and to guard against erosion. This process involves using all
"acid free" materials. Mr. Edelman also did a superb job of lining up
the two 47" x 63" one panel sections to form a 63" x 94"
two panel. This poster was also framed archivially as well, using an acid free
mat and buffered acid free foamcore backing. It took me six years to find
someone who could properly frame it. Now the Thunderball French poster
is preserved for the future and with the deacidification, linenbacking and
archival framing. A
nice tribute to my favorite James Bond film of all time- and the crown jewel of
my 007 collection.-Tom Pennock
Cinema Retro responds: Thanks for sharing, Tom. We
have to say we admire your choice of fine art and we're kinda jealous. The
"jewels" of our collection are the old dogs playing poker print and a
velvet Elvis we got at a flea market in Bayonne,
New Jersey! For the uninitiated,
Tom raises a good point. If you have any valuable movie posters, you should
invest in getting them linen-backed. The process preserves the poster and
greatly enhances their value. A great resource site is www.learnaboutmovieposters.com
An exciting collection of major films are making their DVD debuts in November as part of Warner Brothers' Leading Ladies Collection- Vol. 2 This set showcases Candice Bergen, Jacqueline Bisset, Susan Hayward, Sandy Dennis, Diane Keaton and Joanne Woodward. The films making their DVD premieres are:
Rich and Famous
Up the Down Staircase
A Big Hand for the Little Lady
Shoot the Moon
I'll Cry Tomorrow
While each of these films affords the lead actresses great roles, the leading men aren't exactly window dressing, either. They include Albert Finney, Henry Fonda and Jason Robards. Continue reading for full details and official press release.
Warner Brothers has announced a "Signature Collection" boxed set dedicated to the films of Burt Lancaster. The five title set includes The Flame and the Arrow, Jim Thorpe-All American, His Majesty O'Keefe and South Sea Woman. These are all mid-range titles, but most welcome as they are making their DVD debuts - and one cannot have enough of Lancaster in his prime. However, the most interesting aspect of the set is the inclusion of the granddaddy of all JFK conspiracy movies, Executive Action. The 1973 film stirred up minor controversy by theorizing that President John F. Kennedy had been marked for murder by conservative oil barons who loathed his liberal policies and who felt the nation (and their fortunes) were being placed in jeopardy. The film didn't generate nearly as much controversy as Oliver Stone's JFK did two decades later - perhaps because, unlike Stone's indulgence in revisionist history, the makers of Executive Action had the intellectual honesty to admit the screenplay was a work of fiction supported by carefully studied inconsistencies in the Warren Report. Stone's acclaimed and very competently made film masqueraded as a historical record of the events, despite the fact that many of the story elements and characters were entirely fictionalized. Stone, who senses a government conspiracy every time his choice for American Idol is voted off, defended his film by saying that he is a filmmaker, not a historian and thus was allowed to indulge in artistic license -thus sidestepping the central argument that his film did not provide any context for younger or more naive viewers to realize the extent of the "artistic license" he employed.
Executive Action boasts an excellent cast with Lancaster the ringleader of the "patriots" who seek to assassinate a U.S president. Among his co-stars: Robert Ryan and Will Gear. That's right, the avuncular Grandpa Walton schemes to commit the ultimate act of treason. The film is crude by the standards of the production values afforded Stone's movie but is nonetheless engrossing throughout. Look for a review here when the set is released in October.
Scholars of Alfred Hitchcock's career have long known about his aborted plans to film a spy thriller titled The Short Night. The ravages of age and deteriorating health precluded him from doing so and the Master's last film turned out to be the 1976 lighthearted suspenser Family Plot. However, a web site based in Finland has unveiled some fascinating anecdotes about this Hitchcock film that never came to fruition. Using interviews with local residents who interacted with Hitchcock during his visit to research locations in Finland in 1977, the article provides interesting specifics about this legendary, aborted film project. For example, Hitchcock envisioned reteaming with Sean Connery, with whom he made Marnie in 1964. The female lead was to be Liv Ullman. The article also gives some amusing insights into Hitchcock's personal traits and vices. Click here to read the article
Hitchcock was to reteam with Sean Connery, the star of "Marnie" for the new film titled "The Short Night"
Warner Brothers has announced that a new major Stanley Kubrick boxed DVD colletion will be released in October. Although the studio released these same titles in a boxed set several years ago, this new release has some major new additions. The titles in the set are:
2201: A Space Odyssey
Full Metal Jacket
A Clockwork Orange
Eyes Wide Shut
The documentary Stanley Kubrick- A Life in Pictures
Kubrick on the set of The Shining
The films will also be available as single titles in both regular and HD and Blu Ray versions.
The major enhancements to this set are:
The films have been remastered and are now in their original theatrical aspect ratios for the first time
Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut will be presented in its theatrical version and its uncensored, unrated version
The inclusion of a new featurette: Lost Kubrick: The Films That Never Were which will almost certainly touch upon his long-planned, but ultimately aborted biography of Napoleon
A Clockwork Orange will have a new featurette about the making of the film titled Great Bolshy Yarblockos!
New featurette on Full Metal Jacket
Three new featurettes on The Shining
Each of these special editions will consist of 2 DVDs. Previously released extra materials from the old box set will be retained, including commentaries from actors, directors and film scholars. Warner Bros. is also rereleasing Barry Lyndon and Lolita but this time as single titles and not part of the box set. Continue reading for the official press release.
A rare shot from the Cinema Retro archive: original New Jersey theater display for the 1968 release of 2001: A Space Odyssey
The three DVD set contains a wealth of collectibles as well
Warner Home Video has announced a major 80th anniversary DVD release of Al Jolson's landmark 1927 classic, The Jazz Singer. The movie revolutionized the motion picture industry by introducing synchronized sound and music to the feature film format. The 3 disc DVD set celebrates every aspect of The Jazz Singer and its impact on the film industry. The set will be released in October and it will include a tremendous number of bonus programs and collectibles. If you think you've seen The Jazz Singer before, well, you ain't seen nothin' yet!
Continue reading for Warners full official press release detailing all aspects of the new edition.
Cinema Retro's Lee Pfeiffer reports on the latest unnecessary remake
We hate to be judgmental, but the lack of originality in Hollywood continues to manifest itself with yet another uncalled for remake of an excellent film. This time, it's director Sidney Lumet in the barrel - his terrific 1971 thriller The Anderson Tapes is due to be remade. Naturally, the superb New York locations employed by Lumet in the original are just far too dowdy for today's moviegoers, so the whole enterprise is being shifted to Miami (yawn). Both versions are based on the best-selling novel by Lawrence Sanders that centered on a career criminal, Duke Anderson who is released after a long stretch in prison. He plans an audacious robbery of an entire swanky apartment building using a moving van and a crew of misfits, each of whom has a specialty to bring to the scheme. The hook of the first film was that Anderson's years in prison have made him out of touch with modern technology and he fails to realize that the entire building has been coincidentally - and illegally- wired by the feds who are snooping on unrelated improprieties. The film was regarded as a fine thriller on its initial release, but it took on an added significance the in the next couple of years as the Watergate scandal unfolded and substantiated legitimate belief in paranoia of government eavesdropping. It's doubtful the new version will be able to resonate in the same way. After all, in today's society we simply assume that virtually everything we do can potentially be recorded, even inadvertently, by mini spy cameras, cell phone cameras and ubiquitous surveillance systems. Thus, the only value of the new film is how well it can be constructed as a simple heist drama. We should remain objective and wait and see, but our instincts tell us the usual culprits - countless CGI shots and shootouts- will undermine the plot. What evidence do we have of this? Well, the producer is the same guy who has brought you the Rush Hour movies. 'Nuff said! The original starred Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Alan King, Martin Balsam and young Christopher Walken in one of his first screen roles. No casting has been announced, but let's see them try to top that cast. For Cinematical's report, click here.
Making up for lost time: just-released jail bird Sean Connery immediately gets down to business with girlfriend Dyan Cannon in the original "Anderson Tapes"
As regular readers of the Cinema Retro site know, Warner Brothers and Paramount have teamed for major Elvis DVD promotions to commemorate the 30th anniversary of The King's passing. The Paramount side of the promotion, a boxed set titled Lights! Cameras! Elvis! showcases 8 feature films, packaged in four clamshell cases containing double features. The movies are from the 1960s with the exception of King Creole from 1958. Other titles in the collection are: Easy Come, Easy Go, Blue Hawaii, Fun in Acapulco, G.I. Blues, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Roustabout and Paradise Hawaiian Style. We received a set in advance of the August 7 release date and we were pleasantly surprised to see the films packaged in a smart, blue velvet (what else?) collector's case. The merits of the films themselves range from being among Elvis' better efforts to being weak even by The King's standards - but even the worst of the lot merit being classified as entertaining, guilty pleasures. One of the great joys of watching Elvis films is the array of gorgeous co-stars and this boxed set is a feast for the eyes, topped by Ursula Andress lighting up the screen in Fun in Acapulco. If there's a complaint about the set, its that once again Paramount has been stingy with extras. It would have been great to have film historians or Elvis experts comment on the individual films, but each title is sans extras except for a few trailers. The films are also available individually, but if you give a hoot about Elvis at all, you shouldn't be able to resist purchasing the entire boxed set, though even the most devout fan will probably have to quit their jobs and put their lives on hold for several months to get through the plethora of titles released in August alone. A good value from Paramount, but we hope to see special editions of these titles in the future.
Since Hollywood has exhausted the stable of classic TV shows that can be turned into disastrous big screen features, it looks like Get Smart! might be added to the list. The film stars Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as Agent 99. Fine actors, to be sure, but some roles seem uniquely imbedded in the talents of the actors who created them and both Carell and Hathaway will have a Herculean task to rid themselves from the long shadows of Don Adams and Barbara Feldon. The Get Smart! TV show tribute site www.wouldyoubelieve.com has seen the script for the feature film version and their verdict is a mixed bag at best. There are some promising aspects to the script and web site founder Carl Birkmeyer thinks the casting will not be the problem. He is especially confident that Carell and Alan Arkin, who plays Chief, will generate plenty of chemistry. However, his concerns are the ones we've all dreaded: the script lacks any sophistication and relies on juvenile sight gags- and worse coarse language in a desperate attempt to make the characters look hip. It never seems to occur to producers that the TV series we most cherished were made in an age where the writers and actors worked clean. After many decades, series such as The Honeymooners, The Andy Griffith Show and Get Smart! seem as fresh and funny as ever - and they never had to resort to toilet humor. Worse, Birkmeyer reports that the script relegates the Max/99 relationship to stereotypical bickering and one-upmanship. This was never the case in the series. The pair had mutual respect for each other and a romantic relationship eventually developed that led to marriage. Birkmeyer also expresses concerns that the big screen version's director Peter Segal seems to have no understanding the 99 character. He's made derogatory comments that Barbara Feldon's interpretation was as a "stand by your man" woman who wouldn't hold up in the feminist age. In fact, Feldon's 99 had no such idiosyncracies. She was tough, competent and independent and Max relied on her to get him out of countless fixes. Birkmeyer warns that the script may present her as Bruce Willis' Die Hard character John McClane with breasts! Click on above link for Birkmeyer's insightful and very readable analysis of the script.
The great artist Jack Davis created this classic NBC promotional ad for the original series in 1966
Meanwhile, a teaser trailer for the new film has been released. It's too brief to form much of an opinion, but if you can judge a book by its cover, the end result is not promising. For one thing, the reliance on the phone booth gag seems lame and pretentious in an age where there are virtually no phone booths left in existence. Consider that the funniest gags would be used in the teaser trailer and you'll see why we share Carl Birkmeyer's concerns. To view the trailer click here.
The verdict will not be known until the film is released next year. We hope for the best but fear for the worst. Sorry about that, Chief!- Lee Pfeiffer
It has just been announced that legendary Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni has died at age 94. The controversial filmmaker died on the same day as another iconic symbol of European cinema: Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Although Antonioni made relatively few films in his career, those he did bring to the screen are still steeped in controversy- most notably his first English language film, Blow Up. The 1966 release was among the most stylish films ever made and perfectly captured the "mod period" of London during that era. The story was thin on dialogue but heavy on symbolism as it recounted the efforts of a young fashion photographer to discern whether he has accidentally photographed an actual murder. It's ambiguous ending is still widely debated today. The film was a big box-office hit and catapulted Antonioni into an international firestorm regarding his use of groundbreaking sexual images and situations. His 1969 film about the hippie culture, Zabreksie Point was roundly panned and dismissed as an expensive and pretentious bomb. He would never recapture the sensationalism caused by Blow Up but his 1975 drama The Passenger starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Scneider is considered by many critics to be a classic. Click here for critic Roger Ebert's tribute to the filmmaker
The photo of David Hemmings and the model Verushka seen on the poster for Blow Up became one of the most iconic pop culture images of the 1960s
Author and Cinema
Retro columnist Raymond Benson pays his respects to one of the cinema’s
most legendary directors.
Another one of my cinema heroes is gone.
I first discovered Ingmar Bergman when I was a freshman at
the University of Texas at Austin,
way back in 1973.My good friend and
Drama Department colleague Stuart Howard and I were working in the scene shop
as part of our required crew assignment when he said, “Hey, they’re showing The Seventh Seal tonight [on
campus].Want to go?”
I had heard of The
Seventh Seal and had seen that famous still photo of Max von Sydow playing
chess with Death, but I had never viewed the film or any other Bergman
picture.After all, I was fresh from Odessa, Texas,
where the idea of a foreign language film (with—aghh!—subtitles) was something alien and too bizarre to comprehend.Like most people in those days, I eventually discovered
the great foreign classics while I was a college student.